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28 People With Multiple Sclerosis Share How They Face Its Daily Challenges

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For MS (Multiple Sclerosis) Awareness Week this year, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society started a campaign called Together We Are Stronger: “Together, let’s inspire each other by sharing the diverse and powerful solutions that defy MS. Together we will change the world. Together we are stronger than MS.”

We teamed up with the MS Society and asked its community to share the ways they stay strong and overcome the daily challenges of life with MS. The responses were incredibly powerful, insightful and inspiring. We’ve included just some of them here.

1. “I focus on today. It is the only thing we can control. Yesterday is in the past; it is gone. Tomorrow is the unknown. We can worry all we want about tomorrow, but it is still unknown, so we can’t control it. Today is the day we can do something to fight.” — Carey Stephens

2. “I pray, and I remember I have three kids who depend on me, and people who love me. Staying as positive as I can and finding something to smile about each day gives me an extra boost of energy — and I always need that!” — Christy Mcknight Lynch

3. “Honestly, love everything you can. Knowing you can be a bright spot in someone’s day can be the most self-healing thing you can do for yourself.” — Evan Petrakis

4. “I try only to focus on the things in my life that I have the ability to change. I am not ashamed with having MS. It was the hand I was dealt, and I’m going to do my best to maintain my positivity. As a single mother, I don’t want my son to ever feel like I let this break me! I will continue to be the best I can, regardless of my obstacles.” — Whitney Hall

"I try only to focus on the things in my life that I have the ability to change."

5. “I have primary progressive MS, and I put on my big girl pants and fight! Some days I fight by crying and sleeping, some days I fight by doing a load of laundry, some days I fight with creativity and art, some days I fight by consulting with my doctors and doing all the research I can, some days I fight by volunteering, and some days I fight by doing amazing things with my friends and family. Whenever possible, I never let opportunities pass me by. I have one life to live, and I’m going to live it fighting because MS will not control me. I will transform.” — Heather Leyh Longacker

"Some days I fight by crying and sleeping, some days I fight by doing a load of laundry, some days I fight with creativity and art, some days I fight by consulting with my doctors and doing all the research I can, some days I fight by volunteering, and some days I fight by doing amazing things with my friends and family."

6. “I try to have a good attitude, stay active, do what I can on my own and treat my family with respect.” — Gregg DeCheck

7. “Not every day is a strong day. There are days where getting out of bed and thinking of facing another day in the midst of an exacerbation makes me want to hide under the covers. I try, I try my hardest to focus on the good things, on the fact that I’m still breathing, that the sun is shining and it’s 70 degrees in the beginning of March, that I still can move. Each movement forward is a positive step… never look over your shoulder. Don’t get lost in what you couldn’t do yesterday, because today is a different day with its own set of blessings.” — Grace Augustine

"Don't get lost in what you couldn't do yesterday"

8. “I wake up each weekday and push myself to go to work in a department in a hospital where a large percentage of the patients we help also have multiple sclerosis. It is them, whose wisdom and courage I get to witness each day, who help me stay strong and overcome the daily challenges of my own life I’m living with multiple sclerosis.” — Brigitte Slatt

9. “I adjust my life accordingly, just like everyone else with their own struggles. If i need to take it easy, I take it easy. I take my meds and pray they help me maintain my strength and my sense of humor.” — Kris Russell

10. “Even with supportive friends and family, from time to time, remembering I can’t do a day-to-day task I could do two years ago gets me down. I color, I crochet, and while some consider it childish, I play video games. But when the negative committee in my head tries to convene, I remind them to sit down and shut up, today will be a good day one way or another. And when I start to lose that battle anyway, I vent to my hubs or a good friend.” — Catrina Chantler

11. “I stay positive and keep running! I also like to encourage others with MS. Sometimes a listening ear is all they need.” — Regina Malaska

12. “I focus on the things I can do, not the things I cannot. I now teach tai chi and mindfulness, which not only helps me deal with my MS, but helps others deal with stress as well.” — Tom Parrish

13. “Think of the serenity prayer. Be thankful I am doing as well as I am. Enjoy the good days, and know there will be harder days.” — Teneisha Austin

14. “I always try to keep the expectations I have for myself realistic. I was an over-achiever and always my worst critic, neither of which compliments life with MS. I had to learn not to plan too many things on the same day and realize that sometimes a trip to the grocery store may be enough for one day. I had to learn to ask for help when needed and not always be the one who gives a helping hand.” — Lori Herlihy-O’Connor

15. “I don’t look at life as if MS is going to bring me down. I look at it as I’m going to fight the fight, and I’ll bring MS down!” — Crystal Perryman

“I don't look at life as if MS is going to bring me down. I look at it as I'm going to fight the fight, and I'll bring MS down!” — Crystal Perryman

16. “My support system is pretty phenomenal. My family and friends truly bless me beyond measure. I try to stay positive and know things can always be worse, but those days when that philosophy escapes me, I can lean on them to hold me up.” — Bryan-Judy Leach

17. “I wake up every morning being thankful for yet another day in this beautiful world. I think about all the struggles I have overcome so far and see myself as a warrior. Even though sometimes it felt like I am battling the person in the mirror, I know myself very well and each time something I am not happy about happens to me, I forgive myself. I really believe that being kind to oneself is the best way to keep strong and battle disease.” — Anca Maria Galis

18. “I write a blog daily that focuses on the positive things of my life: what I like about myself, what I do well, what went well today and what will go well tomorrow. Just one thing in each of these four categories keeps me going, even on the worst of days. I have my MS, it does not have me!” — Amber Marjorie

19. “I give thanks, straighten my crown and deal!” — Debbie AG

“I give thanks, straighten my crown and deal!” — Debbie AG

20. “On what I call my not-so-good days, I find something or someone that will make me laugh, because laughter can get you through a lot of tough times. I do my best never to call them my bad days. They’re just not as good as other days.” — Vickie Gould

21. “I reach out to my friends! Either on Facebook or phone call/text. They have been very supportive since I was diagnosed over five years ago! Just speaking with them, either making plans, catching up or talking about something that happened the other day, makes me feel normal and like I’m still involved in everyday life even though I may not have left my bed in a week.” — Julie Dinnerman

22. “I look at this moment, and only this moment. Relapses and progression can happen in a heartbeat. This could literally be the last moment I walk independently or see with clarity. I celebrate every tiny victory I can find, and concentrate on being fully present in this moment.” — Kelly Schultz

23. “I eat healthy and exercise six days a week in my wheelchair.” — Rose Andracchio-Aliberti

24. “I try to live instead of survive.” — Kanaveez Khan

“I try to live instead of survive.” — Kanaveez Khan

25. “I get up. I get dressed. I keep moving no matter how slow and painful. I try to keep a positive attitude and enjoy this life I was given as best I can. I avoid negative people. I hope.” — Debbie Schneider

26. “I take my life with spoons! I started measuring each task as a spoon. I give myself seven spoons a day on a good day. Spoons that are always included are spending time with my family and with God!” — Marisol Zeron-Rodriguez

27. “I don’t have to do anything. The people in my life are there to support me. They are the ones who get me through everything. When I feel like I’m drowning, they help me stay afloat. Without them, I don’t think I could do this. But I do, because I might not be very strong anymore, but they help hold me up. They are my strength.” — Tara Evert

28. “By being positive, thankful and mindful of everything around me, I’ve grown to accept this disease. My mother, who was diagnosed in 1993, taught me everything I needed to know about how to do this. As she would say, ‘I’ve learned to accept MS not as a friend, but as a companion. It will not be company I enjoy, but I have to learn how to live with it until there is a cure.” Five years ago, this lesson hit home more than ever when I was diagnosed, but even though I wasn’t ready to accept the disease, I had the knowledge and experience with my mom to help push me along. Together, Mom and I will get through this as we do our best to educate others about our disease.” — Lindsey D’Auteuil Evans

*Some answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.

What would you add to this list? Share with us in the comments section below.

Originally published: March 10, 2016
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